A few weeks ago at the time of writing, we shared a list of multiplayer games that were considered to be dead on arrival, but there’s two sides to every coin. There’s plenty of multiplayer games that are either available to play right now, or that have been left to history, that deserved a lot more love than they’ve received.
Whether you’re a fan of shooters, brawlers or, well, okay there’s a lot of shooters out there, not all multiplayer games get to become the next Call of Duty, Halo, Rocket League or Fortnite. With that in mind, here are our ten picks for multiplayer games that deserve some extra love. Make sure to leave your own suggestions in the comments below, if you want. You don’t have to listen to me, I’m not a cop.
1. Assassin’s Creed (from Brotherhood to Black Flag)
Potentially a headline pick for any “single-player games that added multiplayer for seemingly no reason”, the multiplayer modes that were introduced in Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood and refined all the way up to Black Flag could have easily been some forgettable nonsense added to try and stop people from trading their games in after finishing the campaign. In reality, there hasn’t been a multiplayer quite like AC’s, and I’d love to see it return.
We’ve talked quite a bit about how enjoyable the multiplayer mode was in a separate article, which you should totally check out, but suffice it to say, trying to stealth assassinate your friends while they’re in the midst of hunting down their own target is utterly incredible. Ubisoft, if you’re not doing anything else, we wouldn’t mind some kind of separate release for this mode.
I mean, it ought to be better than Hyper Scape, right?
2. Rogue Company
Developer: First Watch Games
Publisher: Hi-Rez Studios
The free to play multiplayer shooter market is about fit to bursting right now. Granted, the majority of those games are some kind of battle royale experience, such as Apex Legends, Call of Duty: Warzone, Fortnite and others, but there’s still plenty of options. Naturally, this means that some games will fall through the cracks and go underappreciated, and that’s precisely the case with Rogue Company, the 4v4 third person tactical shooter from the people behind Smite and Paladins.
While suffering from a rocky paid closed beta launch, with some awful matchmaking and connection issues, Rogue Company has since blossomed into a competitive and rewarding multiplayer shooter that’s still more accessible and approachable than the likes of Rainbow Six Siege and CS:GO. With a cast of varied characters and fast paced gameplay, Rogue Company is the perfect example of “easy to learn, hard to master”.
3. Hunt: Showdown
Personally, I’d say that Hunt: Showdown deserves absolutely no love considering the fact that there’s a giant spider to kill, but that’s just me. A PvPvE shooter from Crytek, who are legendary when it comes to first-person shooters, Hunt: Showdown tasks multiple teams of two, or solo players if you’re feeling brave, with entering a large map, hunting down a specific creature and getting out with some sweet loot and your life intact.
The twist in Hunt: Showdown is that all the teams are competing to take down the monster and steal the loot for themselves, adding some extra strategy to the chaos. You could try and take out the other teams early so you can safely tackle the monster, or you could hide in the shadows to steal the loot at the end of the game. The choice is yours, if you can survive long enough to make it.
4. DOOM Eternal – Battlemode
Developer: id Software
The ballad of the Doom Slayer might have ended with the release of DOOM Eternal: The Ancient Gods – Part Two, but that doesn’t mean that the ripping and tearing should stop any time soon. id Software are still working on implementing an Invasion mode which should help make the campaign just that extra bit spicy, but until then, you’ve always got Battlemode for all your glory killing needs.
An asymmetrical multiplayer game, 2 players control one of a handful higher level demons, such as the Marauder, Revenant or Archvile, and must take on one fully powered, completely kitted out Doom Slayer in a brutal fight to the death. On the face of it, it doesn’t sound fair, as Doomguy should just batter anyone in the nearest vicinity, but Battlemode is an intense experience worth checking out.
5. The Last Of Us
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
In fairness, the multiplayer in The Last of Us is possibly the most well remembered and enjoyed multiplayer on this list, but considering the release of The Last of Us Part II came and went without any kind of multiplayer release or mode, it’s time to highlight the previous game’s excellent online mode. Again, what could have been a tacked on mode turned out to be incredibly enjoyable.
The multiplayer mode, dubbed Factions, sees players aligning themselves with either the Hunters or the Fireflies. You assemble a clan, and each match determines the successes or failures of said clan. Win a match and your clan will have a good day, while losing a match can lead to death and your clan being wiped out.
The overall metagame made Factions more unique and compelling than other multiplayer games on the market, and even gets regular play to this day.
6. Kane & Lynch
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
If recent gaming trends have proved anything, it’s that people love social deception, as attempting to figure out who wants to screw you over before they get the chance can lead to some captivating gaming moments. While Among Us is considered the go-to for those types of experiences these days, the often overlooked Kane & Lynch dabbled with social deception in a genuinely interesting way.
Titled Fragile Alliance, players would control a team of robbers looking to make the next great score. Anyone who made it to the getaway car at the end would take a cut of the score, but this was a competitive free-for-all game, and the highest score won. Ultimately, players were encouraged to turn on each other at opportune moments, stealing the money for themselves. Dead players would then respawn as cops trying to take everyone out.
Honestly, Kane & Lynch as a single player game was fine, but Fragile Alliance really needs a comeback.
7. Anarchy Reigns
PlatinumGames have become one of the most prolific and beloved video game developers operating today, but a large majority of their back catalogue focuses on single-player character action games. If you’re looking to play a Platinum title with your friends, it’s slim pickings, but Anarchy Reigns offers more bang for your buck than most full price multiplayer games out there today.
A multi-platform sequel to the Wii exclusive Mad World (yo’, Switch port when?), Anarchy Reigns was a 3D beat ‘em up that featured a multiplayer mode that allowed four players to do battle in tiny, cage like arenas, or with up to 16 players across much larger maps.
Naturally, with up to 16 players that can all kick the living crap out of each other, matches could easily be described as hectic, but that’s all part of the fun, right?
Developer: Iron Galaxy, One True Game Studios
Publisher: Iron Galaxy
It wouldn’t be a list like this without some kind of fighting game mention, and if there’s any fighting game out there that deserves more love, it’s Divekick. Created by Iron Galaxy, Divekick is a pure distillation of the essence of fighting games. Instead of focusing on elaborate, execution heavy combos or introducing more meters and systems than you know what to do with, Divekick is simple, and there’s a certain bliss that comes with taking the simple option.
Divekick only has two moves: dive and kick. In order to move forward, you need to jump (dive) then kick, and you’ll travel across the screen. Pressing kick while on the ground will cause a kickback, causing you to travel backwards. Each character has their own kick types and trajectory, along with various special moves when pressing both buttons together, so match-up knowledge is key to continued success, and the game promotes space control and footsies which will serve you well in other fighting games.
Still, if you and a mate just want to fool around with some fighting game nonsense, Divekick is a great bet.
Developer: FASA Interactive
Despite 2007’s Shadowrun being a huge departure from the RPG series of the same name, FASA Interactive’s online-only multiplayer offering came to define what modern multiplayer shooters would look like, a whole decade before it fully came to pass. If nothing else, Shadowrun deserves so much more love just because it is the precursor to a lot of multiplayer games we love today.
Shadowrun failed as it was a full price, online-only experience at a time when online gaming was still trying to find its feet. However, the different character types and races you could play as, along with the fact you could purchase weapons and abilities between each round, let Shadowrun define the space that would eventually be occupied by games like Valorant.
Heck, Shadowrun even offered PC and Xbox 360 crossplay, which is now considered a multiplayer game staple.
10. Max Payne 3
For whatever reason, Max Payne 3 is often regarded as the unloved entry in the long-running series, as Rockstar took over from Remedy Entertainment to showcase Max’s mid-life crisis. Whatever your thoughts are on how the storyline and campaign is handled though, it’s hard to deny that Max Payne 3’s multiplayer was better than it had any right to be.
While initially presenting as your standard third person multiplayer shooter, the ability to shoot and dodge gives the game a much needed dynamism and unpredictability that makes each encounter worth playing. Couple that with a loadout system that included some game changing perks, and what could have been disposable multiplayer fodder became a worthwhile part of the overall game.
Now, Max Payne 3 Remastered or backward compatibility, when?
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